New Delhi: Concerned over long blockade of a highway connecting Manipur, the Home Ministry on Thursday rapped the state government for "failing" to discharge its "constitutional" duties as it has been unable to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the road despite repeated requests.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also told Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang to ensure that there is no disturbance in movement of vehicle going through his state as there have been reports of Naga Students Federation calling blockade of vehicles in Nagaland.
In a tough message to Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, the Home Minister said there has been extremely distressing situation caused by the continuous blockade of National Highway-2, which has caused an acute shortage of essential and other goods in Manipur and breakdown of law and order.
"The state government has failed to keep the National Highway-2 open, inspite of government of India's repeated requests and making available Central forces to assist the local forces," the Home Minister told the Manipur Chief Minister.
The Home Minister told the Manipur Chief Minister that he is advising him again to ensure the supply of essential commodities to Manipur through National Highway-2, rationally using the assistance of Central forces, as necessary.
"Maintaining of law and order and essential supplies are constitutional obligations of the state government which has to do so and take leadership.
"For the sake of people of Manipur, I call upon you to discharge these constitutional obligations with utmost promptness, while reiterating government of India's commitment to support your forces in keeping NH-2 open," he said.
Meanwhile, the situation in Manipur improved today with no report of any untoward incident and relaxation of curfew in the twin districts of Imphal.
The seven-hour long night curfew starting from 9 pm, however, will continue to be in force as a precautionary measure, according to an order issued by District Magistrate of the twin districts of Imphal East and Imphal West.
Mobile internet services which was snapped from December 18 last is also likely to continue till Christmas.
Meanwhile, a mass rally organised by Manipur-based civil body, representing different ethnic groups, was organised today to promote a better relationship among the different communities living in the state.
It also appealed to the United Naga Council (UNC) to revoke the ongoing 52-day long economic blockade before Christmas.
Thousands turned up at the rally during which it was unanimously agreed that the blockade has led to an artificial scarcity of essential commodities with the prices of daily items skyrocketing.
Gatherings and counter-blockades were also held in different parts of Imphal valley urging for ending the economic blockade.
Meanwhile, N Ibobhal, spokesman of of Lok Jan Shakti (Manipur State Unit) strongly protested the Centre and the state government's "ignorant attitude" regarding the evolving situation due to the economic blockade.
In another development, a drivers' association at a separate press meeting urged the state government to provide licensed guns to drivers and handypersons for their own self-defense if UNC did not end its blockade before Christmas.
On December 18, local people of Khurai area went on a rampage while enforcing counter-blockade along the Imphal-Ukhrul road during which 22 passenger buses were vandalised thereby leading to imposition of curfew in Imphal East district.
The incident was preceded by attacks on Manipur police personnel by suspected militants in the hill districts of Tengnoupal and Noney during which three cops were killed and 14 personnel injured.